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Facebook’s inevitable transition from earned to bought media

As Facebook announce plans to filter out unpaid promotional posts, small business owners are left wondering how on earth they’re going to generate free traffic in the future.

If you’re a small business using your Facebook page to generate free traffic and sales, you’re in for a rough ride. It might be time to dust of the old digital strategy and think about investigating Facebook’s paid ad formats.

The social giant announced recently that they’ll be changing their news feed algorithm…

Natural Language Search and Google’s Limited Grasp of Penis Euphemisms

WARNING: Contains dubious language.

I was so impressed with Google’s grasp of my crude and somewhat gruesome search query, that it prompted me to write a blog post about it… which is saying something, as it’s been more than a year since I found time to write anything worth reading!

This afternoon, during a brief break away from my client work, I was pondering the plight of that poor chap who had his…

50 Problems in 50 Days

Maybe I’m late to the party, I’m not sure, but I just stumbled across this and wanted to share it. 50 Problems in 50 Days is the brainchild of Peter Smart (by name and by nature) who is “on an adventure to explore the limits of design’s ability to solve social problems, big and small”.

To do this, he attempted to solve 50 social problems in 50 days, whilst spending time with 12 of Europe’s top design companies. The problems…

Ad-overkill Ruins
User Experience for ITV Player

I was delighted to see Econsultancy pulling up the ITV Player for its overuse of frankly irrelevant and inappropriate pre-roll advertising. In this day and age, I would expect an organisation of the size and heritage of ITV to have a far better grasp of both technology and user experience, but it seems that the need to drive advertising revenues has overshadowed the fundamentals of providing an engaging experience for second-screen audiences.

In case you’ve never experienced…

Top 5 Trends Influencing UX in 2012

An interesting question about the state of UX in 2012 was raised on Quora last weekend, one that I actually found quite difficult to answer, given that there are so many cool things rocking the UX world at the moment.

Whether or not my top five influences will be the top five or not remains to be seen, but these are certainly five trends and movements that will have a…

{UX} User Experience:
Minority Report UI just around the corner…?

 
Okay, so it needs some refining, but Russian company Displair has come up with an exciting new technology that projects images on to a stream of cold fog, and uses an infra-red camera to track hand gestures. Having boot-strapped this prototype together with minimal government funding, I image it’s only a matter of time before they get some serious funding together!

Read the full story at TechCrunch…

My Great North Run Adventure

Okay, so this has nothing to do with design or UX, but a bunch of us at Riff Raff took part in the Great North Run yesterday, raising money for Finchale Training College, a nice group of people who help adults with disabilities to get back into employment. We’ve all been training for around 4 months now, and it has been quite an adventure.

In the build-up to the event, I was…

The Future of Retail is Mobile

It seems that the humble mobile app is gaining traction in the offline world, as American home improvement chain Lowe’s have announced plans to replace their checkout scanners with some 42,000 iPhones, according to Mobile Commerce Daily.

The idea behind the radical switch is to enable Lowe’s staff to provide a better service to their customers, through on-the-spot inventory checks, access to helpful information and how-to videos, and eventually…

Google TV comes to Android SDK

Exciting times are ahead for those of us with an interest in the emergence of truly ubiquitous IPTV services, as Google announced to the Android development community this week that, with the upcoming OS update to Honeycomb, Google TV devices will finally be Android compatible.

So what does this mean? It means that soon we’ll be able to start building apps for TV, and to optimise our existing Android mobile apps for display on internet-enabled televisions, distributing…

Three Clicks or Bust

There are lots of popular design myths passed off as ‘best practice’ these days by armchair designers, particularly within the web design industry. Somehow these guidelines manage to work their way into the public consciousness, often taking root in briefing and specification documents where they eventually become criteria used to measure the quality of a delivered product.

Whilst in some cases these guidelines can be helpful, and can actually hasten the adoption of progressive thinking, more often than not they…

Bringing online & offline together

Last week I wrote an article for the Tech Notes column in The Journal giving one tiny example of how marketers can unite their online and offline activities to create a single seamless user experience. This is a fascinating topic for me, and something that keeps me up at night scribbling in my Moleskine, so it was great to share a couple of ideas…

 

At Riff Raff I spend most of my…

Designing the emotional user experience

I was reading a blog post recently by a member of our Riff Raff web design team, Richard Powell posing the question of whether user experience design is an emotional or logical discipline.

I thought I’d share a story that I felt was quite appropriate, and that will hopefully add some subtle shading to a fascinating topic. It’s a story that helps us to understand how human beings make decisions, and how important it…

An iterative approach
to user experience design

So all great web design projects start out with that spark of unbridled genius. You’re so convinced that your latest inspiration will be the answer to all your marketing prayers that you funnel your budget into it with gusto.

You spend weeks with a reassuringly expensive design consultant sculpting the perfect user experience from top to bottom, safe in the knowledge that it’ll work. You’re not sure how, but it will.

You share your vision with stakeholders…

What motivates you?

There are as many motivations for starting up in business as there are stars in the sky. My own business is a web design and build agency in Newcastle, but I guess this applies to any kind of company.

The reasons that crop up most often seem to be…

 

  • “I’ll make money quicker running my own business”
  • “It’s more satisfying than working for someone else”
  • “It will give me freedom to work the…

Ditching Tumblr for Good!

Okay, I take it back – earlier this year I moved my blog to Tumblr because I found the feature-bloat in WordPress a bit of a ball-ache. Tumblr’s lightweight feature-set is great for quick, impulsive post-writing, which actually encouraged me to write more

But user experience is not everything. Performance and delivery has to count for something, and their constant server problems meant that my site was down more than it was up. I…

The Emperor’s New Social Strategy

When it comes to social marketing, it seems that small businesses in the UK just don’t get it. Despite all the buzz surrounding social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, a recent study by the Forum of Private Business discovered that many SME’s are struggling to see any real value in their inclusion in the marketing mix.

According to the survey of 5,800 small to medium-sized businesses in the UK, around 21% of them…

If only life had a search engine…

I’ve often fantasised about having an Undo button for life in general, but recently I’ve found myself imagining what life would be like with a search engine, too.

I was handed a 50-odd page printed marketing framework document last week, giving exhaustive context to a web design project I’m preparing a proposal for. I knew roughly which paragraph I wanted to reference, but had no clue where to find it. I then spent about 20 minutes flipping through…

Live conference streaming debuts on Risky Business 2010

Visitors to the Risky Business conference video website can now register to watch live coverage of talks as they happen.

The Risky Business conference, hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital, addresses issues of risk management, leadership and teamwork in high-risk industries, such as medical, chemical, defence and emergency services.

With representatives from NASA, RAF and the CAA, Risky Business reaches audiences across the world with conferences hosted in London, Boston and Miami.

Three Riff Raff web projects shortlisted for regional design awards

Three of our recent web design and build projects have been shortlisted for regional design awards The SMACS, organised by digital media collective Super Mondays.

Although awarded by a panel of industry judges, the competition has a public vote element, so be sure to cast your votes for our design & build work on…

Canvas for the Masses


Mix Online Labs’ AI->Canvas Plugin

Mix Online Labs has released a free cross-platform plugin to export vector and bitmap images from Adobe Illustrator to HTML5’s Canvas element, including support for interactivity and animation.

Available for Mac and Windows, this plugin is extremely exciting news for those of us who are already using HTML5 in our commercial web design projects. Whilst the quality and integrity of the code…